Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Don't call us Durham, call us Raleigh-

Today's Wall Street Journal has an article on the "next hot youth-magnet cities." The usual suspects of Washington DC and Seattle are tied at #1 but look down at what's tied at #7 .... it's, um "Raleigh-"? And that picture is um, Raleigh's Brightleaf Square? Nope, sorry, that's Durham people, and I'm assuming the "city" in the print version is Raleigh-Durham. Sigh. The depressing text of the "city" description is below as is the screen shot that shows both "Raleigh-" with the thumbnail of the same photo at the bottom identified as Durham.

I'm sending a note to the reporter for clarification. Stay tuned.

A relatively low cost of living and a highly educated population help make this Southern city appealing.
The smallest city on our panelists' list, with fewer than 400,000 people, Raleigh has job opportunities in tech and research and a strong university presence. It offers outdoor recreation and a lively music scene. Also, Fort Bragg is expanding, signaling more jobs and more spinoff employment. "Raleigh's future is so bright that it ought to wear shades," says one panelist.
Downside: Raleigh has few critics; the worst panelists could say is that it wouldn't be seen as the hippest locale on the list.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

U2 conference looking for you, too to be a sponsor.

NCCU is the home for the first ever academic conference exploring the music, work and influence of U2 from October 2-4, 2009. The conference organizers just tweeted that they are looking for one more Gold ($5K) or Silver ($1K) sponsor for the conference and are promising to give away a free trip to Durham plus free tickets to the U2 show in Raleigh on October 3.

From the site, on how to find a sponsor:
The best way to connect to a business is by a personal connection. Do you work for someone who has a soft spot for U2? Or for arts and music education? Or for Africa? Or for AIDS treatments and research? Or cares about promoting Durham, North Carolina?
(How they know that Twitter-reader A is the person who connected them with Sponsor B is beyond me ... I'm just passing on the info. I don't need a free trip to Durham NC thank you very much nor am I likely to go to the concert.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sorry Herald-Sun but you're getting pwned

So whose idea was it to redesign the Herald-Sun's site so that the right side of the screen is a text message space where anyone can post comments? Tonight I logged on and saw this message:

Obama calls Kanye West a donkey rear -

followed a few hours later by this one:

your mama calls your daddy my name by mistake....get over it

Nice. Your writers and editors must be so proud. Screen shot is at the bottom.

And -- the N&O's new redesign is in beta these days. Maybe they'll also have another great feature like the Herald-Sun's?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Congratulations Joe!

Today's the day -- Durham's own Joe Liles is expected to summit Mount Katahdin in Maine some time today to complete his 2,175 mile thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail! Liles was one of the founding faculty members of the NC School of Science and Math and following his retirement in 2008 decided he wanted to take on the challenge of hiking the trail. He began in March -- back when hiking the Appalachian Trail only had one meaning -- and was a popular hiking companion (according to trail reports) with his singing and harmonica playing. As you may know thru-hikers pick up a nickname during their adventure and Joe became Braid for the last six months, a fitting moniker for Joe's extended ponytail.

A thorough web and Facebook presence has tracked Joe all the way, thanks to Colin Law (NCSSM '86). There you can find video, stories and of course, given Joe's immense talents in photography, some terrific photos. I'm looking forward to the coffee table book myself.

Way to go Joe!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A walk around downtown Durham

I spent an hour on Friday afternoon (9/11/09) walking around downtown Durham and taking pictures with my iPhone as I went. I was surprised by how well they turned out. Anyhow, the photos should appear as a slideshow below. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Man v. Food: "Durham" mini-review

Okay, since I mocked the social media marketing folks in the last post I figured I owed it to teh Internets around the globe to at least watch "Man v. Food: Durham" and give a review. And I must say that eh, it's not the show for me. For some reason a show about a chubby guy who has an enormous appetite and doesn't mind looking stupid seems a little too familiar. I hadn't seen an MvF episode before and I doubt I'll watch one again.

On the other hand, I definitely enjoyed the Durham parts. The owners of both Backyard BBQ Pit and Wimpy's were charming, enthusiastic and had a great sense of humor. It was also nice to see the Doughman competition as I'd only heard of it before but never attended. And you can never get enough of a charismatic host saying "I love Durham" several times.
On the MvF website there's also a nice piece on Ninth Street that features Native Threads, the Duck Shop, The Regulator and a fun mini-interview with Carol Anderson of Vaguely Reminiscent. Click on the photo of Carol and Adam above to see the clip. There's also a very gracious "vlog" (people still use that term?) in which Adam is shot sitting mostly in the dark in his hotel room (?) singing the praises of every one he met in Durham.

Finally, this: in the transition shots between segments there were two shots of Raleigh. I assume this was filmed when they were in Raleigh last year, but seriously. How hard is it to shoot ten more seconds of footage from the city you're in? As proof here's a screen shot from the website. Note the CAT (Capital Area Transit) bus in the picture.

All I can say is -- thanks, Allen. (Allen, Adam -- what's the difference?)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Man vs. Social Network Marketers

[Something tells me this is not going to go as planned.*]

The next stop on my new status as a member of the media elite (for those of you with wee memories visit my wayback machine for The Nasher, Picasso and Me): I got an e-mail today from someone named Wendy from Room 214 urging me to blog/tweet about the show "Man v. Food." Honest to Freud I've never seen this show before and only barely have some memory of this guy appearing in Raleigh last year to eat 3000 hot dogs or something like that.

Anyhow, the episode Wednesday night features this wild man's adventures in eating in Durham, or so that's what the release I got said. I'm sure it's going to be a fascinating show but today kids I'd like to talk about this press release-e-mail-thing. Here are some snippets that I really enjoyed:

Durham has been called the "Cradle of Cue", so Adam starts his journey with a search for some good ole Eastern Carolina BBQ.

Oh, where to start. To my knowledge Durham has NEVER been called the "Cradle of Cue." After Googling I found that North Carolina has at times been called the "Cradle of 'Cue" (note the apostrophe, Wendy!) but Durham? Locavore? Sure. Foodie? You bet? But I doubt we'd even make the top 20 in barbecue localities in the state. We certainly get no love from my new favorite food site BBQ Jew. Regardless, if you make it all the way to the Triangle, you pick Backyard BBQ Pit?

And "good ole?" C'mon, Wendy, y'all not frum 'round here, huh? And it's eastern, not Eastern. And it's eastern North Carolina, not eastern Carolina. Catching on?

They're known for their chopped BBQ pork, which btw isn't really chopped, it's stirred (that's how tender it is!). In Adam's own words, the pork "coats your tongue like velvet".

btw? Are we under Twitter length restraints now? And, um, if it's not chopped, it's not chopped. Find me some other NC barbecue restaurant that refers to their meat as stirred. Also, the last word you should ever use to describe eastern North Carolina barbecue is velvet -- that's for fine paintings, not food.

Next up, Adam heads to Wimpy's Grill which is known for big breakfasts and big burgers.

Okay, I've had a burger or two at Wimpy's, and I enjoyed them, but they weren't ecstasy-producing. In the YouTube clip Wendy sent along the focus at Wimpy's is far more on the toppings than the ground-at-Wimpy's hamburger. Look at all those toppings! And more toppings! They're messy.

Also, they serve breakfast at Wimpy's? Maybe they do, but never in my life have I heard of Wimpy's as being "known for big breakfasts." You?

And did you know Wimpy's ...

"is a hot spot for tailgating?"

View Larger Map

WHERE? In that incredibly narrow all-asphalt parking lot? Or does she mean the Dukies are all grabbing some burgers on their way to the big football games? (Insert your own Duke football joke here.)

This burger is so messy Adam says, "I feel I ned to eat it in the shower".

Ned? And proper use of quotation marks?

On a more personal note, I hope you do not find this email offensive. I try to reach out to people who would be interested to know that Man V. Food is coming!

No, Wendy, I don't find this offensive at all. I do worry that in the battle of good writing vs. social media that social media seems to have the upper hand at the moment. Good luck wherever the next episode takes you.


P.S. Oooh, that Room 214 group seems a bit, I don't know, white, don't you think?

[*On the other hand, I'm writing about -- and you're reading about -- a show I knew nothing about mere hours ago, so perhaps their job is done. Someone at Room 214 is no doubt smiling and noting the irony ... while sending someone else to pull up the clip of "Reality Bites" where Ethan Hawke defines irony so everyone remembers what it is.]